It’s always gratifying to have one’s beliefs confirmed, especially by the likes of Jasper Johns. Following yesterday’s post and comments about the relative necessity of artists being able to articulate what their work means (I think that’s what critics are for—why do their job for them?) comes a piece in today's New York Times about the upcoming exhibition at the Met organized around his gray paintings, about which Johns says, “Yes, gray is important to me. But I don’t tend to think of it as separate from the rest of my work” and explains his relationship to the tradition of monochromatic painting by stating, “I was trying to do something else.” A good press release that does not make. I’ve met Johns and found him, as he’s known to be, distinctly unresponsive in conversation. But does that mean he's any less an artist? Sometimes people choose a visual means of expression because words are not their strong point. Johns’s reticence, however, may be seen as a matter of choice rather than the result of simple inhibition when, at the end of the article, he’s quoted as saying, “To me…self description is a calamity.” You can’t get more emphatic than that.